Offensive struggles reemerge
By Jason Klabacha
Date: Aug 6, 2004

Toward the end of Friday’s afternoon session the Bears offense went up against the Rams defense in an eleven-on-eleven drill. The results left more then a few questions in mind.

While the Bears offense has looked good for the most part against the Rams defense, during a string of plays the unit looked as bad as it did last year.
On the first play of the drill Damione Lewis pushed Olin Kreutz back into Rex Grossman, which took the quarterback down. Trying to prove his moxy, Grossman got up and despite the fact that the play had been blown dead heaved the ball 50 plus yards toward Bobby Wade.

The Bears then went to the ground game, but Thomas Jones coughed up the ball and Tommy Polley recovered the fumble. There is a concern that Jones’ upper body is too muscular and fumbling could become an issue.

The worst moments of the practice came when DE Bryce Fisher consistently beat Qasim Mitchell off the snap and reached Grossman with ease. Luckily contact is off limits or Grossman might have been seriously injured.

"The negatives, well my glass is half full most of the time," Lovie Smith said recently. "Those negatives, we’re trying to concentrate on the positive as much as possible. We have a better idea now where we are with those, but all we’ve done right now is get ourselves in position to start competing against someone else. Then things will really start to clear up."

For all involved, the faster a decision to move John Tait to the left side the better. Granted he’s gotten some reps at the position, but he was back on the right side today.

"John is our best. We gave him a lot of money. That's what we were saying when we gave him that money. We think he's a pretty good football player and of course you need your best tackle at the left tackle position."

Considering Tait hasn’t been a full-time left tackle since 2001, it would benefit him to know that will be his position going into the season so he can get in as many reps as possible.

"The more practices I'm there the more comfortable I feel in that position," Tait said. "In my mind I'm preparing myself to play left tackle. Now if that doesn't happen that's fine because I can flip over to right no problem. But if I were to play more at right and all of the sudden I have to be thrown over to left then that's kind of a bad situation to be in and I just want to be ready."

After reviewing Mitchell’s performance on tape the coaching staff should be that much closer to making the switch. A poor showing in Saturday’s scrimmage could be the final straw for Mitchell.